JST Bible - Trustworthy Translation, or Deviant Addition?

Written by John Carson

 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) teaches that the Bible cannot be trusted. In what they consider to be Scripture, they teach:

 

 

Now I would definitely agree there are some bad “translations” out there (such as the JW’s New World Translation), but if English translators get it wrong, going back to reliable ancient manuscripts to find out what was originally written, is a solution to find out what the original authors had penned. However, that is not what the LDS church is talking about when they use the term “translate”.

 

Most people think of a translational process to mean.... “to turn from one language into another or from a foreign language into one's own.” That, however, is not what the LDS church is talking about in their eighth article of faith. LDS members (Mormons) mean something completely different than translating from one language to another. 

 

So that there is no confusion, let’s allow the LDS church to define what they mean by “translate”. Mormons are taught “translate”....

 

  • sometimes can mean to.... RESTORE A LOST TEXT (D&C 45:60–61). Joseph Smith was commanded to undertake an inspired translation of the King James Bible (D&C 42:56; 76:15)." [emphasis mine] 

 

This means to Mormons, “translate” refers to restoring lost texts missing from the King James Version. Did the translators for the King James Version use ancient manuscripts? Yes, but Mormons believe those ancient manuscripts are missing many precious things. In their Book of Mormon (BofM) it reads:

 

  • Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God. (1 Nephi 13:28)

 

So Mormons see the Bible as tainted by ungodly men, whom they believe removed many precious things from even the ancient manuscripts. This would mean even the best translations will have those “many precious things” missing.

 

At this point I would warn that to view the Bible as corrupted by man, is to also view God as incapable of keeping His Word from becoming contaminated. If they were so precious, wouldn’t you think an Almighty God would have been able to preserve and protect anything from becoming missing from His holy writings? 

 

The Mormon will not see this as a problem though, because they see it as something prophesied long ago that this “taking away” from God’s Word would happen. Any serious student of the Bible will see right away that the burden of proof lies with the one who claims ancient manuscripts had disappeared. Do Mormons have any “proof”? What solution did God come up with according to Joseph Smith Jr.? Well, Mormons say what was lost can be, and was, restored. God using someone to restore what was “missing” is the foundational reason for the very existence of the LDS church.

 

Here’s what Robert J. Matthews (12 September 1926 – 30 August 2009), a Brigham Young University’s (BYU) dean of Religious Instruction and president of the BYU Eighth Stake, taught:

 

  • With the restoration of divine priesthood authority and the reestablishment of the Church of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith, there CAME ALSO THE RESTORATION OF ANCIENT SCRIPTURES. Not only were we to have a Bible, but also a Book of Mormon and other sacred records. The revelations received by the Prophet Joseph Smith made clear that the King James Version, great as it was, DID NOT CONTAIN ALL THAT THE ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS HAD ONCE CONTAINED. Many plain and precious things had been lost. (See 1 Ne. 13.) It was not so much a matter of translation of languages, but also a FAULTY TRANSMISSION of the text. The King James Version is thus a remarkable vestige of an even more remarkable record of the gospel that was preached anciently.
  • With the Restoration, ANOTHER REVISION of the English Bible was in order, not by a scholar but by a prophet.... This revision was to be an inspired version of the King James Bible, a divine restoration of ancient biblical knowledge. It is known today as the INSPIRED VERSION, or more properly, as the JOSEPH SMITH TRANSLATION of the Bible. It should be seen in perspective as another step in the struggle to give mankind a Bible that not only can be read, but also can be understood. The Prophet Joseph Smith made his translation during the years 1830 to 1844. [emphasis mine]

 

Matthews also wrote:

 

  • The Prophet’s main work of revising, correcting, or TRANSLATING THE BIBLE was done during the three-year period from June 1830 to July 1833. During this time he and his scribes went through the Old and New Testaments of the KING JAMES VERSION and produced nearly 500 pages of manuscript, containing thousands of variant readings and new passages that clarify and ENHANCE THE MESSAGE OF THE BIBLE. The eighth Article of Faith declares that “we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. …” The translation of the Bible by Joseph Smith shows much of what is meant by that statement. [emphasis mine]

 

[Robert J. Matthews was a Latter-day Saint religious educator and scholar who taught in the departments of Ancient Scripture and Religious Education at BYU in Provo, Utah. He served as Bishop, High Councilor, Stake President, Patriarch, Temple Sealer, Home Teacher, and as a Sunday School Gospel Doctrine Teacher. He served on many Church committees, including the Correlation Committee and the 'new' LDS Scriptures. He was especially noted for his efforts concerning Joseph Smith and his translation of the Bible.]

 

According to the LDS church, the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) is a....

 

  • .... revision or translation of the King James Version of the Bible begun by the Prophet Joseph Smith in June 1830. He was divinely commissioned to make the translation and regarded it as “a branch of his calling” as a prophet. Although the major portion of the work was completed by July 1833, he continued to make modifications while preparing a manuscript for the press until his death in 1844, and it is possible that some additional modifications would have been made had he lived to publish the entire work. Some parts of the translation were published during his lifetime.” 

 

Notice Joseph Smith Jr. did not use ancient manuscripts (he did not know the languages), but he did the “translation” (or rather, the supposed restoration of what was apparently missing) from the King Jame Version.

 

In their Pearl of Great Price there is a section called the Book of Moses (also written by Joseph Smith Jr.). There, a conversation transpires between God and Moses (which Mormons view to be the same Moses as in the Bible). In it, it says there is one whom God will raise up like Moses....

 

  • And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak.
  • And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and TAKE MANY OF THEM FROM THE BOOK which thou shalt write, behold, I WILL RAISE UP ANOTHER LIKE UNTO THEE; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe. (Pearl of Great Price - Book of Moses 1:40-41) [emphasis mine]

 

What did Moses write? The Pentateuch, which begins with Genesis. Mormons see this to mean that much of what Moses wrote would end up missing because of corrupt men. The timing is set at the time of Moses where God tells him that the taking away from the book will happen in the future. God then supposedly tells Moses He will raise up someone like him. Who is this being talked about? Is the Pearl of Great Price speaking of Jesus? No, to Mormons this is none other than Joseph Smith Jr. Yes, the very same person that penned those words.

 

Now since this conversation was supposedly between God and Moses, is there anything in the Bible that verifies this? No. Again, to Mormons this is one of those “many precious things” that was apparently missing. How are we to test these things by the ancient Scriptures if those very writings are no longer available? What Scriptural proof does the LDS church have for pointing to Joseph Smith Jr. as the one through whom these needed “restorations” take place? Mormons will point to Genesis 50:31-33.

 

BUT WAIT!!!

 

Before you read that, the book of Genesis ends in verse 26 of chapter 50. What you are about to read is what Joseph Smith Jr. ADDED!!! It is not found in ANY ancient manuscripts....

 

  • Wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and THAT WHICH SHALL BE WRITTEN BY THE FRUIT OF THY LOINS, and also that which shall be written BY THE FRUIT OF THE LOINS OF JUDAH, shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to a knowledge of their fathers IN THE LATTER DAYS; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.
  • And out of weakness shall he be made strong, in that day when my work shall go forth among all my people, which shall restore them, who are of the house of Israel, in the last days.
  • And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called JOSEPH, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation. (Genesis 50:31-33 (JST)) [emphasis mine]

  

Mormons view Joseph Smith Jr. as the Seer. Also, Joseph Smith Jr’s father’s name was also Joseph Smith. So Joseph Smith Jr. actually added himself and his father into the pages of the holy Bible.

 

The LDS church taught Joseph Smith, Jr. descended from Joseph of Egypt. The BofM even records....

 

  • “And thus prophesied Joseph, [Joseph of Egypt] saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; [speaking of Joseph Smith Jr.] and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;
  • And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, BY THE POWER OF THE LORD SHALL BRING MY PEOPLE UNTO SALVATION." (2 Nephi 3:14-15) [Bracket mine/emphasis mine]

 

So not only did Joseph Smith Jr. write himself in the Holy Bible, and pointed to other writings HE WROTE to verify this, he even placed himself as INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING PEOPLE UNTO SALVATION. This places all control upon the LDS church which claimed:

 

  • NO SALVATION WITHOUT ACCEPTING JOSEPH SMITH. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth when he said that he stood in the presence of angels sent from the Lord, and OBTAINED KEYS OF AUTHORITY, and the commandment to organize the Church of Jesus Christ once again on the earth, then this knowledge is of the most vital importance to the entire world. NO MAN can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he CANNOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (The 10th Mormon Prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith - Doctrines of Salvation 1:189-90) [see picture below]

 

No one but Jesus Christ has the keys of authority! 

 

Acts 4:11-12 reads: 

 

  • This Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation exists in no one else, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given to men by which WE MUST BE SAVED.

 

God is Almighty and His preserved Word can be trusted! Jesus Christ alone is the source of Salvation! He did not give His keys of authority to anyone. This means you don’t need any person or organization to pull you into relying on an "authority" they have absolutely no possession of for your salvation. You can have full and complete confidence in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Reliance upon anyone else is to turn your back on Him.